The Emerging Trump Republican Voter Profile

  • May 13, 2016

The Emerging Trump Republican Voter Profile by Philip Rosenstein

As the Grand Old Party rips open at the seams, political marketers are taking a closer look at an emerging demographic group within the Republican party — one significantly distinct from the traditional Republican demographic.

Red, White & Blog spoke with Bryan Melmed, vice president of insights services at Exponential, to probe the many changes in the political sphere.

Melmed remarked that “the situation on the ground is moving particularly quickly. The idea of the typical Republican is a crude stereotype that will no longer satisfy the needs of political marketers.”

How different are Trump voters, compared to the Republicans marketers engaged with in 2012?

According to a report authored by Melmed on Trump voter data, when analyzing counties where Trump has received the strongest support, “just 40.1% [of Trump voters] share the direction and strength of Republican loyalists — enough to make Trump a Republican, but not enough to have most Republicans choose Trump.”

The study took into account 13,059 “statistically significant characteristics.”

The report also compared profiles of Trump rally attendees to registered Republicans, highlighting interesting differences in preference between the groups.

For example, well-publicized differences in education and financial condition were apparent, but there were also less evident variations: beverage preference – wine (GOP), energy drinks (Trump); cuisine – pasta (GOP), barbecue (Trump); interests – boating and fishing (GOP), football (Trump).

Melmed’s report emphasized two patterns that go “a long way in explaining what drives support for Trump.” Notably, a sense of uncertainty and pride.

The uncertainty for Trump supporters extends beyond economics, where they are most likely to have poor credit and earn less than $15,000 per year. In their personal lives, Trump supporters are “2.4 times more likely to suffer from insomnia” and have higher levels of stress.

The pride characteristic of Trump supporters lies heavily with cherishing “American culture, defined as originating and being unique to the United States.” They prefer American cars (Trump has clearly picked up on this trend), American food and are fans of American history.

Neighborhood demographics also play a role here: Trump supporters are more likely than Republican loyalists to live near minority populations.

Melmed notes that “given how unpredictable the process has been thus far, the best approach is to ignore partisan brands completely and build an understanding of voters from the ground up.”

Adding for good measure: “I’d recommend revisiting any assumptions made every other week.”